This DVD of the recently issued Britten/Pears mini series recorded by the BBC for television way back in the 1960's and the 70's is for all intents and purposes another resounding success. All four priceless documents were thought lost, but this Idomeneo seems to have had a charmed life more than others. Indeed, three days before the Aldeburgh première, the hall was left in cinders and it is something of a miracle that the television production could actually go ahead. First broadcast in May 1970, critics and viewers alike were unanimous in their praise. Sung in English to a version prepared by Maisie and Evelyn Radford, Mozart's first operatic masterpiece is even more telling. A lot of credit should go to Britten himself, who not only conducted with committed ardour, but also prepared a musical edition all of his own. The staging has a classical dignity and avoids austerity altogether and both Pears and Harper give impressive performances. (Gerald Fenech)
Cambridge University Chamber Choir performs three twentieth-century English song cycles for mixed choir, including the rarely-recorded A Garland for the Queen. A Garland was composed to commemorate the Queen’s coronation in 1953 by a selection of the finest English composers including Finzi, Bliss, Bax, Tippett, Vaughan Williams, Howells and Ireland. The two works by Benjamin Britten, AMDG and Sacred and Profane, are virtuoso show pieces for mixed choir.
Released in the Britten anniversary year, Richard Farnes, the Music Director of Opera North who led their critically acclaimed production of 'The Turn of the Screw' in 2010, conducts an all-English cast in Britten’s most ingeniously crafted opera, including Andrew Kennedy, Sally Matthews, and 11-year old Michael Clayton-Jolly in the role of Miles.
…Da das Werk einen umfangreichen Apparat an Sängern und Musikern erfordert, wird es selten aufgeführt und auch aufgenommen. Umso wichtiger ist diese Realisierung Helmuth Rillings, der erstklassige Sänger verpflichtet hat und souverän alle Bestandteile des riesigen musikalischen Apparates zu einer erschütternden Aufführung von ungemeiner Bildhaftigkeit vereinigt.
‘brilliantly incisive and excellently balanced. In particular, the great first movement sounds much more radical than usual, simply because the players pay scrupulous attention to Britten's expression marks and relish the remarkable contrasts of tempo and texture.’Gramophone, reviewing the 1st quartet , May 1991